Park Guell

Park Güell

Would you like visit a fairy tale, find yourself in an enchanted forest where the dragon lives who holds keys to many mysteries and is ready to unravel them to the most persevering and patient? Then the magic Park Guell is the place, for it is full of symbols, allegories and secrets. Designed by the genius Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi it was built on hills in the site which in 1900-1913 was the suburbs of Barcelona. The park was commissioned by Eusebi Guell, a rich Catalan industrialist of the time, and being placed among algarroba trees, wild bushes and tall pines it was destined to become a perfect garden town (initially the plan was to build some 60 houses here). But it was the distance that scared the potential buyers away from the site, so only two houses were built – that of Gaudi and Casa Marti Trias which now are museums. Yet the initial concept of the garden, forest and the unique park space was almost completely implemented.

Two gingerbread houses with elaborate cone or mushroom shape towers welcome you by the entrance to the park – oddly enough these were meant to be the administrative quarters and doorkeeper’s office. The so-called "entrance hall" with a separate shed for the carriages reminding of war elephants leads you inside the park, to one of its most famous treasures – a stairway with sharp edges covered with trencadis style tiles (mosaics created from tile shards). The second stair-well features the hidden dragon or salamander, a symbol of fire in alchemy, which is now the most well-known emblem of the park. Further on you find yourself among the columns of a hall taking you to the times of the mysterious Ancient Greece – this Chamber of the Hundred Columns (also referred to as "the forest") actually has 86 columns with depictions of the Sun and the Moon on the intricate ceiling. With that your journey into the park’s enigmatic depth just begins. The hall takes you to a spacious square with a remarkable view over the city and the Mediterranean. The square’s entire inner side border is decorated with a unique snake-like bench also designed with predominantly green, blue and yellow trencadis tiles (Gaudi’s symbolic depiction of the Faith, Hope and Love) and numerous depictions of Virgin Mary.

Pathways, viaducts, porticos and lanes of the park also hold a lot of secrets. The highest point of the park, symbolically representing spiritual elation, brings the visitors to Calvary with three crosses in the shape of some megalithic structures of the ancient past. Combining traditional technics with the most cutting-edge methods of his time Gaudi encapsulated limitless shades of meanings in his artistic objects thus creating this park, one of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It should be borne in mind that due to a huge number of tourists willing to see the site, the park operates during certain hours while the entrance tickets can be purchased both by the park’s entrance and on Lesseps metro station. It is advisable to come as early as possible – you will be able to take a photo with the dragon without a crowd of tourists at the background, and visit the gingerbread house without waiting in a long line.

Address: Carrer d'Olot
Opening hours: daily January 1 – March 28 8.30 am – 6.15 pm (entry till 5.30 pm), March 29 – May 3 8 am – 9 pm (entry till 7.30 pm), May 4 – September 6 8 am – 9.30 pm (entry till 9 pm), September 7 – October 24 8 am – 8 pm (entry till 7.30 pm), October 25 – December 31 8.30 am – 6.15 (entry till 5.30 pm)
How to reach: metro Lesseps, Vallcarca
Coordinates: 41.414483, 2.152664